Selected tags: Environment

EDF Wins Governor's Environmental and Economic Leadership Award for California Fisheries Fund

Environmental Defense Fund was awarded California’s highest environmental honor by Governor Jerry Brown at a ceremony last night for our creation of the California Fisheries Fund (CFF). The CFF, the first fisheries-specific loan fund in California and most comprehensive in the United States, provides capital to fishermen, fishing businesses and communities who are dedicated to safeguarding the environment, their fishery’s profitability and the greater oceans economy.

The award ceremony was hosted by California EPA in Sacramento, California. During his remarks, California EPA secretary Matthew Rodriguez said that the “entities that we’re recognizing tonight are really showing us the way forward. Their unique approach shows how, given a challenge, California businesses, nonprofit organizations and businesses can really rise to the occasion.”

There can be many business challenges for fishermen to transition to more environmentally-friendly fishing practices but with the California Fisheries Fund, we’re removing roadblocks and helping fishermen continue on the path to fishing sustainably and profitably.

So far, we have awarded fourteen loans totaling nearly $1.7 million to eleven borrowers including fishermen, fishing businesses and communities. Most recently, we closed a loan to Steve Fitz, a Half Moon Bay fisherman who attended the award ceremony with us.. Steve’s CFF loan allowed him to buy his boat from his uncle and carry on his family’s sustainable fishing legacy—operating the only commercial fishing operation in the nation that uses Scottish Seine gear. The most eco-friendly way to catch flatfish like Petrale sole and sand dabs, Scottish Seine gear consists of lines which gently guide fish into the path of light-weight nets. Unlike some other types of fishing techniques, Scottish Seine doesn’t use heavy gear that drags along the ocean floor. Read More »

Posted in Catch Shares, EDF Oceans General, Pacific, Seafood | Also tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments closed

Dan Whittle and Doug Rader Discuss Cuba on PBS, "Cuba: The Accidental Eden" Premieres This Sunday

Dan Whittle, EDF Cuba Program Director; Dr. Doug Rader, Chief Oceans Scientist

This Sunday, September 26, "Cuba: The Accidental Eden" premiers on PBS' NATURE series and includes interviews with our own Dan Whittle and Dr. Doug Rader.  Cuba's shores and surrounding waters hold a tremendous amount of ecological treasures of vital importance to marine conservation in the Caribbean. Our Latin America and Caribbean team at EDF, including Dan and Doug, recognize Cuba's environmental significance and has been collaborating with Cuban scientists to address issues of overfishing, coral reefs protection and coastal conservation, and potential ocean energy.

PBS' NATURE Series also recognizes the environmental wealth and challenges scientists face in their work on Cuba. The program will show the work of these scientists and take a look at how the possibility of an end to the U.S. trade embargo could increase development and threaten a nearly pristine ecosystem, or position Cuba to set an example for development and conservation around the world.  Check local listings.

Posted in Cuba, Marine Protection | Also tagged , , , | Comments closed

Somewhere Over the Gulf Coast: A “Glee” and BP Oil Disaster Mashup

As posted on EDF's Climate 411 blog by EDF Executive Director, David Yarnold.

From a comfortable distance – in our classrooms, around our water coolers, through pictures on TV or newspapers – the BP oil disaster is depressing and horrific.

But up close where every breath you take fills your mouth, nose, and lungs with the toxic mix of oil and industrial chemicals, where you talk with resilient and proud locals and hear their frustration, anger, and concern, where the disturbing and unforgettable scenes of a precious and fragile ecosystem in crisis are just seared into your mind – all of it is just so bad, so repugnant, so wrong in the most profound way.

Two days in the Gulf of Mexico left me enraged – and deeply resolved. Both the widespread damage and the inadequacy of the response effort exceeded my worst fears.

Seeing terns and gulls sitting on the oil-soaked booms that were supposed to be protecting their fragile island marshes – booms that had been blown or washed ashore – may have been the ultimate symbol of the devastation unfolding in the Gulf.

Or maybe it was the lone shrimp trawler, aimlessly circling off the coast, dragging a saturated gauze-like boom behind it, accomplishing nearly nothing.

Or maybe it was the desperation of the fishermen whose livelihoods had been snatched away by BP’s recklessness – and yet want nothing more than to see the moratorium on drilling lifted so their economies don’t dry up, as well.

I’d spent a full day on the Gulf and we ended up soaked in oily water and seared by the journey into the heart of ecological darkness.

By Tuesday night, I was home. My throat burned and my head was foggy and dizzy as I showed my pictures and my flip-camera video to my wife, Fran, and my 13-year-old daughter, Nicole, on the TV in the family room.

Images of the gooey peanut-butter colored oil and the blackened wetlands flashed by. Pictures of dolphins diving into our oily wake and Brown Pelicans futilely trying to pick oil off their backs popped on the screen. And, out of nowhere, Nicole put on the music from the season finale of Glee.

With all these horrific images on the screen, she had turned on the show’s final song of the year, “Somewhere Over The Rainbow.” The song, a slow, sweet, ukulele and guitar-driven version, couldn’t have added a deeper sense of tragic irony.

I choked up. And then that resolve kicked in: I wanted anyone/everyone to see what our addiction to oil had done to the Gulf and to contrast that with the sense of hope and possibility that “Somewhere” exudes.

Long story short, last weekend, Peter Rice, Chairman of Fox Networks Entertainment, gave Environmental Defense Fund the green light to use the song. The pictures you’ll see were shot by two incredibly talented EDF staffers, Yuki Kokubo and Patrick Brown – and a few are mine.

The inspiration was Nicole’s. This is for her, and for all of our kids – and theirs to come.

David Yarnold is executive director of Environmental Defense Fund.

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Posted in BP Oil Disaster, Gulf of Mexico | Also tagged , , , | Comments closed

U.S./Cuba History in the Making

EDF Staff with Cuban delegates in Washington, D.C.Last week marked the beginning of a sea change in U.S. and Cuba cooperation on the environment. Our Oceans team invited and secured visas for a delegation of Cuban scientists to come to the U.S. for meetings with EDF and other partners. EDF has been working in Cuba for almost a decade to protect coral reefs, conserve mangroves and other vulnerable coastal ecosystems, and to conduct scientific research with our Cuban partners.

During this historic visit, EDF staff and our Cuban guests discussed future opportunities to collaborate, both in Cuba and the U.S. Of paramount importance are new projects aimed at protecting and sustaining fish populations and other shared resources in the Gulf of Mexico, northern Caribbean, and Atlantic.

Staff from our Climate and Air program and Land, Water and Wildlife program made presentations on their work and initiated discussions on possible collaborations on climate change and agricultural runoff. On Friday, the delegation traveled to Sarasota to meet with scientists from the Mote Marine Lab. Scientists from EDF and Mote are involved in a tri-national collaboration on marine sciences and conservation with our partners from Cuba and from Mexico.

Despite years of political separation, Dan Whittle, director of EDF's Cuba Project says, "The environment knows no borders, and the resources we share are so important. We see the environment as the one issue that can bring the two countries together."

Denise Stetten, manager of the Latin America and Caribbean Oceans Program at EDF says, "The spirit of the meetings was extremely positive and several important projects for collaboration emerged. We will be sure to follow through with those ideas and continue to build on our foundation of cooperation."

News coverage of the visit:

Posted in EDF Oceans General, Latin America & Caribbean | Also tagged , | Comments closed

EDF Participates in Environment and Development Convention in Cuba

Three fishermen, El Malecón, Havana, Cuba: Photo by MissMass (http://www.flickr.com/photos/missmass/)Last week, EDF's Dan Whittle and Denise Stetten attended and presented at the 7th International Convention on Environment and Development in Havana, Cuba. The convention brought together scientists, government officials, entrepreneurs, NGOs, and others to discuss solutions to various issues, including environmental education, protected areas, environmental management, ecosystems and biodiversity management, and climate change.

Dan Whittle, EDF's project director on Cuba, participated in the convention's colloquium on environmental law, which focused on public participation in environmental decision-making. He also gave a presentation entitled "Shared Ecosystems: Opportunities for Increasing Environmental Cooperation and Collaboration," in which Dan emphasized that partnerships between U.S. and Cuban scientists, NGOs, and government agencies can result in the production of better information that in turn should result in better policies and decisions.

Denise Stetten, Latin America program manager at EDF, also participated in the conference and worked with our Cuban partners on an assessment of coastal conservation in Cuba.

Posted in Latin America & Caribbean | Also tagged , , , | Comments closed

Oil Exploration in Cuban Waters, Only One of Many Important Marine Issues

Thoughts from Dan Whittle. Dan is the Southeast Regional Director for EDF's Oceans program. He works to reform management of marine fisheries and to protect sensitive coastal areas and essential fish habitats in the southeastern United States and in the northern Caribbean, including Cuba.  

Dan Whittle, Southeast Regional Director for EDF Oceans program.The U.S. and Cuba share many ecological resources, but the countries have different ways of managing them.  Drilling is just one important issue out of many and is covered well in Nick Miroff's Washington Post article, Cuba's Undersea Oil Could Help Thaw Trade With U.S.  The U.S. and Cuba should move quickly to facilitate more information exchange among academics, scientists and conservation groups to help both countries do a better job of managing coastal and marine resources.  The sooner we work together, the sooner we'll see benefits for the people, the environment and the economy in both countries.

Posted in Latin America & Caribbean, Marine Protection | Also tagged , , | Comments closed